Whilst tracking systems for light aircraft already exist, Rock Seven has introduced a wealth of new features designed to bring extra functionality and safety through the RockAIR system. For starters, RockAIR is the only dashboard mounted tracking system to offer dual mode functionality over satcom and cellular networks. The solution provides lower-cost GSM based tracking when in cellular range, and reliable failover to an Iridium satellite when outside of built-up areas; whether the aircraft is working over a city, or is in the middle of the Sahara, GPS coordinates will be automatically transmitted using whichever network is available and most cost effective. This also provides an extra layer of safety and security not available in existing systems.
Enhancing safety even further, RockAIR is the only carry-on tracking system for light aircraft to feature an integrated back-up battery. The battery will automatically take over should the 9-30v DC or Micro USB power be interrupted. While this feature is vital for emergencies, it can also provide a level of security against theft or unauthorised use of an aircraft.
RockAIR is CE, IC, FCC and DO160 certified, and at 119 x 100 x 25mm / 210g, the unit is easy to carry on board and attach to the included dashboard quick release clip. It features its own built-in antennae but can also work with an external antennae, allowing complete flexibility of installation location.
In action, RockAIR can automatically transmit a GPS position as often as every 15 seconds, or as infrequently as once every 24 hours, all easily configured by the user. The unit also allows tracking profiles to be setup to enable faster rates if the integrated alert button has been pressed, if external power is applied, or if cellular data is being used rather than satellite. RockAIR also features a ‘Watch Me’ feature, accessible via the keypad, which informs the provider that more active monitoring is required for a period of time.
While delivering precise tracking is RockAIR’s primary application, Rock Seven has integrated incredibly useful extra functionality that takes advantage of the always on connection the system keeps to the Iridium satellite and GSM networks. Users can send and receive low-cost, short emails and text messages using the free (iOS/Android) companion app over Bluetooth, ensuring that regardless of location, they can stay in touch.
"In addition to all the flight following and alert capabilities, being able to use the RockAIR's Bluetooth API provides a very useful platform to connect other in-flight apps for weather, NOTAMs (Notice to Airmen) live updates and other operational applications and messaging," said Dan Mercer, vice president & general manager EMEA & Russia for Iridium.
In parallel to its tracking and communication functionality, RockAIR is also a true Internet of Things device. It features a RS-232 port, which can be used for Machine-to-Machine data, enabling users to connect sensors and computing platforms to the Internet. A Bluetooth API makes it easier for light aircraft owners or technology developers to create their own apps that make use of the highly reliable connectivity RockAIR provides.
“No other tracking system packs so many additional features into such a compact, low-cost solution,” said Nick Farrell, Director, Rock Seven. “Our primary objective is to ensure high availability of tracking service, making the dual mode operation, back-up battery and alerting feature vital to improving safety. However, the extra messaging and IoT/M2M functionality complete the package, ensuring that RockAIR users can make the most of the connectivity provided by RockAIR however they want to.”
Rock Seven created such a feature rich, reliable aircraft tracking solution using experience from its existing technology portfolio, including the RockFLEET system for maritime users. Like RockFLEET, RockAIR is competitively priced, costing less than its nearest competitor but with more features. It is available as a standalone system or bundled with airtime, making it even easier for light aircraft owners to improve their safety and that of their passengers.
“While RockAIR is designed primarily for aviation users, we have also received interest in the system from government and private organisations operating land vehicle fleets. The beauty of the system is that all of its features will work as well on the ground as they do in the air, so we are expecting RockAIR to find a home in everything from fixed wing and rotary light aircraft to battle tanks, commercial vehicles and 4x4s” concludes Nick Farrell.
Find out more about RockAIR here